A review of “Rumor Has It” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: ** 1/2

Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content and crude humor

Run Time: 1 hour, 37 minutes

 

 

Jennifer Aniston may be the most overexposed celeb of the year (high-profile divorce, public cleansing, four films in the can in ’05) but she’s the best thing about this lightweight and all-too-tidy romantic comedy.

Aniston is Sarah Huttinger, an urban professional with a cold feet engagement en route to her sister’s California nuptials. Along for the ride is lawyer fiancé Jeff (Mark Ruffalo), the yin to her yang and the unfailing voice of reason.

Once ensconced at her dad’s swanky Pasadena home Sarah gets that uneasy black-sheep feeling, not sure where she fits in the scheme of things and perpetually asking why. Her prickly grandmother (an amusingly caustic Shirley MacLaine) listens to Sarah’s tale of woe and lets slip that Sarah’s deceased mom had similar issues when she was set to marry Sarah’s dad.

Not surprisingly sleuthing Sarah uncovers some information she’d rather not; a week before her wedding her mother had slept with a man who had also slept with her grandmother and whose story was the juicy gossip that spawned the book and the movie “The Graduate”.

Koo-koo-ka-choo Mrs. Robinson. That gossipy tidbit may be the piece of the puzzle that Sarah needs to quell her inner demons. To put her mind at ease she looks up the alluring lothario who charmed her female forebears; one Beau Burroughs (Kevin Costner), a wealthy adventurer with a taste for exploration of all kinds.

Sarah’s dilemma is crystal clear: should she confront Beau about her dubious genealogy or just put it in the pantry with her cupcakes?

Aniston’s a cutie; charmingly befuddled and blessed with a solid sense of comic timing. Costner brings his good stuff while Ruffalo is forced into the role of cuckolded support system and borderline chump.

“Rumor” is classic Rob Reiner (“The American President”, “Sleepless in Seattle”), punctuated by witty one-liners and a healthy but mawkish sense of romance. Reiner redux – making the narrative leap with one eye firmly on the safety net. There’s something awfully shipshape about this easy comedy that will please some audiences but disappoint those who seek the cinematic road less traveled.